An all-time classic, the crawling panther tattoo has been a staple of all tattoo studios for a long time. These days, the neo-traditional panther head seems to be more of a popular choice. Whatever style you choose the panther has a great deal of symbolism and a solid place in tattoo history and culture.
Little fact for you before we get started on this one, a panther isn’t actually a species of big cat in its own right. A panther is just a big cat such as a jaguar or a leopard with black pigmentation.
As for the ancient history aspect, there’s a fair bit going on. The Greeks used the panther as a symbol for Dionysus, the god of wine theatre and ecstasy. Therefore the panther was a symbol of freeing yourself and liberation.
The Pagans saw the panther as a symbol of female power and motherhood, very similar to Chinese symbolism where they also see the panther as a symbol of motherhood.
Amund Dietzel is widely accredited with being the first to use the crawling panther design in tattooing after discovering an illustration of it in a book called Minute Myths by Marie Schubert. If you wanted to pay homage to the first ever panther design and go as traditional as possible you could look it up and get that exact design and have a great story to tell!
As I mentioned panthers are known for being great mothers, they are also known with fiercely defending their cubs fiercely. This makes them a great tattoo to symbolize protection over your family.
Obviously panthers symbolize power and strength but they are also symbolic of freedom, mystery and stealth.